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Serving Up A Grand Plan_____

Tract Consultants - Melbourne Park Eastern Plaza - Plaza

Serving Up A Grand Plan

The Australian Open has come around once again, and this year on the back of the Open Tract has hit the front page of ‘The Age’.

For all the right reasons the redevelopment of Melbourne Park has attracted media interest as the circus that follows the tennis tour descends on the newly constructed facilities.

Major Projects Victoria committed, a couple of years ago, to upgrading Melbourne Park helping to ensure it remains a world class tennis venue capable of hosting a grand slam. The newly opened Eastern Plaza is the first part of that commitment. Tract was invited to form a team with Daryl Jackson Architecture and Watpac Construction to develop the project. The Tract team was led by Steve Calhoun and Nigel Parker.
The landscape component of the project was centred upon a grand plaza that forms a majestic entrance to Hisense Arena. Tract designed a colonnade of phoenix palms that encloses a dynamic space, finished to the highest level. This premium square is then connected by a series of bespoke timber ramps to the new National Tennis Centre and 12 outdoor tennis courts. All elements are linked by native trees and under story planting that provides a gardenesque atmosphere. These plantings not only create a uniquely Australian setting for this world tennis event but link the project to the wider parkland that surrounds Melbourne’s sporting precinct.

The works - which also include a footbridge that runs over Olympic Boulevard named after Edwin Flack, Australia's first Olympian and both a champion athlete and tennis player; more car parking, a massive water tank underneath the oval and more seating on one of the outdoor courts - represent the first stage of the long-term redevelopment of Melbourne Park.

Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley, also the director of tennis at Tennis Australia, said the works, which began less than two years ago, have made Melbourne Park the biggest of the major tennis precincts, and arguably the best for visitors.
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